Contact us

Phone 52225947 between 3 and 4pm on Tuesdays to speak to us live on air. Email: Post: 68-70 Little Ryrie Street, Geelong VIC 3220.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Tuesday January 5th 2010

Robyn flying solo this week while Bernard takes a break.

Free Audio book sampler available from Griffiths:
Bolinda Audio books has a sampler CD out for 2010 and Robyn played an excerpt from "The Story of Danny Dunn" by Bryce Courtney

The Age Short Story Competition 2009
THIRTY stories were shortlisted for the Age short-story award. The winner was Louise D'Arcy (Flat Daddy); runner up, Joanne Riccioni (Can't take the Country out of the Boy); third place, Ryan O'Neill (The Chinese Lesson); commended, Mark Andrew (Sunday) and Robert Hollingworth (My Brother Bill).

Others on the shortlist were: P. S. Cottier (Noddy), Jennifer Down (The Telescope's Wife), Brad Emery (On Wings of Eagles), Elin-Maria Evangelista (The Teacher), Poppy Gee (The Fish Doctor), R. D. Harper (The Girl on the Web), Patrick Holland (The End of the Earth), Sue Hunter (Five Thousand Miles), Casey Jenkins (Founding a Mythical Principality), Jane Jervis-Read (The Rain over the Suburbs), Emma Kerin (Strike), Carmel Lillis (My People Shall be Your People), Susan McCreery (Angie's Sparkle), David Mence (Letters from Tehran), Paul Mitchell (Firerod), Cheryl Rogers (Making the Cut), Pauline Ryan (A Creative Career), Emma Schwarcz (Helen and Isabella), Gretchen Shirm (Breakfast Friends), Nick Smith (Everybody Wins on Kid Planet), J. Anne de Staic (The Weight of Blue), Gerald Thistleton (A Good Spring), Margaret Tyson (Witness Protection), Anne Vines (At the Windsor, 1942), Amy Weaver (Can I Come in, Mister Nicholson?). [Source: The Age].

Summer Read 2010
A Reminder to enter the State Library of Victoria's "Summer Read" competition and check out the "Summer read at Torquay" featuring Maura the Clairvoyant Librarian, resplendent in her surfie chick outfit, reading aloud from the banana lounge. What better way to enjoy this beach-side event, which also includes prizes and giveaways.

Time: Thursday 14 January 2010, 5:00PM - 7:00PM
Venue: Torquay Library, Surf City Plaza, Beach Road
Cost: Free
Bookings: 03 5272 6010 or
Refreshments: Wine, cheese and nibbles
Melways: Melways reference: 505 KA

Firing the Canon
Robyn shared an Article by Lyn Gallacher from the Australian on Five Australian Classics.

Australian Poetry Slam
I was shocked that there were no heats in Geelong in 2009 for the Australian Poetry Slam competition run by the State Library of Victoria and have vowed to do something about it! Here's Geelong poet Marc Testart from the 2008 heats:

E-books and Digital Self Publishing - some news from the Australian here.

Martine Murray's "How to make a bird".
I was reminded of Alex Miller in the beautiful word pictures the author paints with her writing. She inhabits the mind of this young girl "Mannie", who catches an early morning train from Daylesford to Melbourne "on business". She makes intruiging observations about the people she meets, and has memories of her life with her family - her brother Eddie, her quiet country vet Father, and her French mother who suffers from a kind of manic depression, which makes life in the household a bit up and down. She reminisces about Harry, her first love, and has an internal dialogue between her "Mean self" and her true self. 4 out of 5 stars for this book.

"Pale Dress" the Audreys
"Juanita" Georgia Fair
"The True Story of What Was" Ani Di Franco
"Long Live the Girls" Sara Storer
"The Obvious Child" Paul Simon

Tuesday December 29th, 2009

A post from Bernard
We must begin by thanking the indomitable Oliver Howson, Pulse's Tuesday Drive presenter, for panelling today's show while Robyn is away. Thanks Oliver!

The news...
Local author Barbara Farmer ("The Seal Woman", etc.) given a Patrick White Award for her services to Ausralian literature.

Today's "Age" has a list p 9 of what people read in 2009 & today's "Australian" has the usual great Review section. The Age's list of best reads for 2009 includes most of the books we have covered in our little book show

YOU can also suggest books to review for the show - contact us via the details listed on this blog page.

Look out for The Australian Literary Review out on the first Wednesday or the month.

"SALT" gallery has new exhibition of dazzling sculptures in stainless steel - Hesse Street, Queenscliff.

Bernard's Recent Reading:

"Nine lives: In search of the sacred in modern India" by William Dalrymple. Another intriguing more-than-travel book, this time in India, by the acclaimed author; new in paperback.

Andrew McGahan's "Wonders Of A Godless World", new paperback novel from the young Queensland writer. Expect the unexpected; I hope to say more when I finish...An intriguing read. Hmmm.

"The Riddle of Father William Hackett" by Brenda Niall. As mentioned in our previous program, the book probably has a limited audience. I loved it: available from the Geelong Regional Library.

William Trevor's 1998 anthology of short stories. A true master of deceptively simple prose, close focus on a couple of lives. So far, so good. Available from the Geelong Regional Library.

"Resisting the enemy"
by Lorraine Campbell: I have had second and more postive thoughts on this WWII love/adventure/historical novel...rating it rather better; I still feel it needed "tighter" editing...Worth a look. In paperback, my copy from Griffiths Bookstore in Geelong.

"Little Scarlet: an Easy Rawlins Novel" by Walter Mosely.
My reading of Mosely's earlier books didn't prepare for a " brighter" feel in this "Easy" Rawlins grungy novel, set amid LA's low-life; there is more of JL Burke's wounded hero Roicheaux here. I love the ability of Mosely's writing's to PLACE
us in a time and space, and the raw (almost "rap") dialogue is as confronting as amusing... Pulp fiction, if I had time, I'd read ALL Mosely.

DON'T FORGET to check out Geelong Regional Library's various branches SUMMER READ program; have a look at the website.

Do we really appreciate our brilliant, generous, inclusive, encouraging library service?

On my bedside table (for when I get time!)
"William Golding: The man who wrote Lord of the Flies" by John Carey

The ever-reliable Anne Tyler's newie, "Noah's Compass", about a newly-tired 61-year-old schoolteacher's striving to adjust to his new life... could be a bit close to the bone for me! My copy from the library, but should be in the shops. I'll review it next time.

The latest edition of Griffith University's "Griffith Review" which I need someone to help me read. Lots of essays re: food and eating.

"All My Trials" Harry Belafonte 1958
"In The Presence of the Lord" from 1968 [?] super group Blind Faith (featuring - Olly and I reckon - Clapton's best studio guitar solo...Big call?)

Olly read "The Pier" by the late Mallee farmer/poet Phillip Hodgins.

An assignment from an old English teacher who just can't resist:
"The Catcher In the Rye" (1954) - is on the VCE reading list yet again. SHOULD it be? Write/phone/email and tell us.

Robyn will be in Tuesday 5th while I have a break. Happy reading, dear listener....Oh, and Happy New Year. Thanks, Olly, for dragging yourself away from the beach.


Monday, January 4, 2010

Tuesday, December 22nd 2009

Today's show...

Robyn gave The Big Issue a plug - available from your nearest seller - (I bought mine from out front of Westfield). She also shared her thoughts on Alex Miller's Lovesong which has also won the title of Bernard's book of the year! No surprises, she too enjoyed his sensory writing style.

Bernard made mention of a couple of books:

"The Riddle of Father William Hackett" by Brenda Niall
"Nine lives: In search of the sacred in modern India" by William Dalrymple


John Banville: "The Infinities"

William Trevor: "Love And Summer"

Barbara Kingsolver: "The Lacuna"

Bernard shared ideas on how to do a book review:

An Idea or two for reviewing a book...By NO means meant to be prescriptive. Above all, remember your audience...people just like you.

1. What is it all about? A brief summary of the story (maybe 50-60 words).
2. Elaboration:
- setting (time, place...if especially important)
- characters: well-drawn? interesting? familiar? ...(authentic? = do they come across as credible human beings?)
- DIALOGUE: often (for me) the makings of a BETTER book: do the characters SOUND like they should? Writing effective dialogue is one of the hardest jobs in fiction writing.
3. MEANING: does the book have anything to say to me in 2010? No, it should never preach....but a better book will take the reader somewhere new.
4. PLOT: it may be old-fashiooned, but I believe that EVERY book should have a dramatic beginning, middle and end.
5. FORM/GENRE (probably out of order!)- we need to know whether this text is a biography? history? historical romance? historical fiction? autobiography? etc.
6. "STYLE" - That Special Way Of Writing Which Separates THIS Book From Others in its Genre.
7. MY opinion....which may be or not the result of the above.

We welcome all reviews - PHONED IN LIVE TO AIR, WRITTEN.....ANY form of communication. Please help us. We are drowning in review copies of books!

Bernard's TOP HITS OF 2009.
This is a PERSONAL list; not all books were published this year. ALL are in the bookshops/library.

Top Three:

1. James McPherson: "Battle Cry of Freedom" (1988. Recently re-released history of American Civil War).
2. Dennis Lehane: "The Given Day" (by the author of Mystic River - recently filmed).
3. Tim Winton: "Breath"

TEN Honourable Mentions: not in order
Andrew Ward: Our Bones Are Scattered [....Indian Mutiny 1857]
Kate Grenville: The River
Tom Keneally: Australians [ volume 1]
Paul Kelly: March Of The Patriots [re. Howard and Keating.]
David Finkel: The Good Soldiers [ with US soldiers during 2007 " Surge" in Iraq]
John Kennedy Toole: Confederacy Of Dunces [ 1980 novel...available in Penguin's " cheap" range.]
Truman Capote: In Cold Blood [ 1965...diito above.]
William Trevor: Love and Summer.
Alex Miller: Love Song.
Simon Scharma: American Future


Cecil Woodham-Smith: The Great Hunger [ THE history of the Irish famine of mid-19th century; out of print....I've seen it in local s/h bookshop.]
Paul Ham: Vietnam- the Australian War

I know there have been a lot of other books published this year: I read a fair bit....This is a very personal selection. Please get back to us with your choices.

"Gifts" Bruce Dawe
"The Journey of the Magi" T.S. Eliot

Mary Chapin Carpenter "Come Darkness, come light"
"7 O'Clock News/Silent night" Simon & Garfunkel
"We Three Kings" UK Gospel Choir

Contacting us:
Ph 52225947 between 3 and 4pm on Tuesdays to speak to us live on air.
68-70 Little Ryrie Street